Blessed be the child

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A picture says a thousand words.  Do I need to explain anything here?

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Urgent Press Release from Heaven

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Urgent Press Release from Heaven

April 17th 2010

Heaven’s Angelic Messenger , the Angel Gabriel, has just released an urgent press statement directly from Upper Management in Heaven.

Just over a week ago, a terrible disaster occurred when the crash of an aging Russian airliner ravaged the top levels of Poland’s military, political and church elite last Saturday, killing the Polish president and dozens of other dignitaries as they traveled to a ceremony commemorating a slaughter that has divided the two nations for seven decades just outside Smolensk.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and some cabinet members flew to Smolensk from Warsaw. The president’s twin brother, former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, headed to the area in a chartered plane along with party members.

News of this disaster immediately sent millions of prayers up to Heaven, nearly crashing the European Prayer Switchboard in the Heaven PrayComm Utilities Department.

This kind of prayer traffic has not been experienced since the last Soccer World Cup final, when millions and millions of Italian soccer fans all prayed for Italy to be victorious in the final against France. These prayers were answered, with Italy winning during a penalty shootout, 5-3.

The Heaven PrayComm Utilities Department was barely able to process all the prayers coming in after the latest plane crash disaster. They had to use circuits dedicated to other parts of the globe to prevent a major crash in prayer communications.

It all seemed to work fine, until millions of people got stranded after the Icelandic glacier-covered Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted, and millions and millions of tons of volcanic ash was blown over parts of Western Europe.

This caused many of Europe’s biggest airports to be closed down, resulting in millions of travelers to be stranded, some of them thousands of miles from home.

This had the effect of millions and millions of more prayers coming in through the already overstressed European Prayer Switchboard in the Heaven PrayComm Utilities Department, resulting in a complete crash throughout the whole system.

It took engineers 16 hours to fix the problem. They had to relay and delay and even in some cases shut down many switchboards. PrayComm estimates that around 15 million prayers got lost during the downtime.

The reason for this press release is to clear a very important matter up. This statement will be released through as many press agencies as possible.

The whole confusion started when some ignorant journalist called the Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption an act of God.

Upper Management in Heaven wants to be absolutely clear on this matter, and also take the time to explain the real cause of this disaster.

First of all, it was NOT, and we repeat, NOT, and act of God.

To explain we have to go back a couple of centuries. During the 1400’s, England made a pact with Satan himself. Satan would help them to conquer the world, and accumulate many riches in the process, in exchange for England becoming more and more secular and less and less religious. This deal was struck between Satan and some of only a couple of people in charge of running the British Empire. The British Empire reached the height of its strength during the last century. Secularism did as well.

The whole reasoning behind this deal was that Satan could use the British Empire to get a good foothold all around the world. Empires lead by example, and Satan thought this would be a good idea to put a damper on religion spreading faster through the world.

To make a long story short, this pact still exists between these two parties, although the terms has changed over the last century. Instead of conquering land, the British Empire now conquers financial markets.

The plot thickens here. The Icelandic glacier-covered Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption was actually caused by Satan. This was in accordance with the terms of the Satan-British Empire Pact. Iceland had it coming. They defaulted on approximately 6 Billion, with a B, British Pounds of debt they owed the Empire. After Iceland’s currency collapsed, they defaulted on all their foreign debt.

So to be clear, as retribution, Satan caused the volcanic eruption in Iceland. The whole plan backfired when the winds blew the volcanic dust over to Western Europe, causing the whole travel delay disaster.

We could not reach Satan for a comment. When we contacted his PR Office, all we got was a loud voice laughing and laughing, as if it was a big joke to them. Another source told us that Satan was busy striking a deal with the pope, to help the Vatican out of a pickle, and will not be available for comment for quite sometime.

So we hope this clears the matter up. The volcanic eruption was not an act of God. Our prayer channels are all open again, and functioning at 100%. We also sent an Angel down to turn the wind direction away from Western Europe, and more towards the North Pole and Siberia.

Just shows you how the words of one ignorant and stupid reporter can ruin things for everyone. Glad we could clear this matter up. Peace be with all.

Gabriel

Ratzinger is the Perfect Pope

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Ratzinger is the Perfect Pope

by Richard Dawkins – The Washington Post

“Should Pope Benedict XVI be held responsible for the escalating scandals over clerical sexual abuse in Europe?” Yes he should, and it’s going to escalate a lot further, as more and more victims break through the guilt of their childhood indoctrination and come forward.

“Should he be investigated for how cases of abuse were handled under his watch as archbishop of Munich or as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer?” Yes, of course he should. This former head of the Inquisition should be arrested the moment he dares to set foot outside his tinpot fiefdom of the Vatican, and he should be tried in an appropriate civil – not ecclesiastical – court. That’s what should happen. Sadly, we all know our faith-befuddled governments will be too craven to do it.

“Should the pope resign?” No. As the College of Cardinals must have recognized when they elected him, he is perfectly – ideally – qualified to lead the Roman Catholic Church. A leering old villain in a frock, who spent decades conspiring behind closed doors for the position he now holds; a man who believes he is infallible and acts the part; a man whose preaching of scientific falsehood is responsible for the deaths of countless AIDS victims in Africa; a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence: in short, exactly the right man for the job. He should not resign, moreover, because he is perfectly positioned to accelerate the downfall of the evil, corrupt organization whose character he fits like a glove, and of which he is the absolute and historically appropriate monarch.

No, Pope Ratzinger should not resign. He should remain in charge of the whole rotten edifice – the whole profiteering, woman-fearing, guilt-gorging, truth-hating, child-raping institution – while it tumbles, amid a stench of incense and a rain of tourist-kitsch sacred hearts and preposterously crowned virgins, about his ears.

By Richard Dawkins

The “Pedophile’s Paradise” Alaska Natives are accusing the Catholic Church of using their remote villages as a “dumping ground” for child-molesting priests—and blaming the president of Seattle University for letting it happen.

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The “Pedophile’s Paradise”

Alaska Natives are accusing the Catholic Church of using their remote villages as a “dumping ground” for child-molesting priests—and blaming the president of Seattle University for letting it happen.

by BRENDAN KILEY

The Rachel Mike, who won a settlement in a case involving Father Poole, at her confirmation in the summer of 1975. Behind her is Father George Endal, accused of raping or molesting several boys and allegedly walking in on another priest performing oral sex on a 6-year-old boy and doing nothing to stop it.

One spring afternoon in 1977, 15-year-old Rachel Mike tried to kill herself for the third time. An Alaska Native, Rachel was living in a tiny town called Stebbins on a remote island called St. Michael. She lived in a house with three bedrooms and nine siblings. Rachel was a drinker, depressed, and starving. “When my parents were drinking, we didn’t eat right,” she says. “I just wanted to get away from the drinking.”

Rachel walked to the bathroom to fetch the family rifle, propped in the bathtub with the dirty laundry (the house didn’t have running water). To make sure the gun worked, Rachel loaded a shell and blew a hole in her bedroom wall. Her father, passed out on his bed, didn’t hear the shot. Rachel walked behind their small house. Her arms were too short to put the rifle to her head, so she shot herself in her right leg instead.

Rachel was found screaming in a pool of blood by her Auntie Emily and flown 229 miles to a hospital in Nome. The doctor asked if she wanted to see a priest. She said yes. In walked Father James Poole—a popular priest, radio personality on KNOM, and, according to allegations in at least five lawsuits, serial child rapist. Father Poole has never been convicted of a crime, but the Jesuits have settled numerous sex-abuse claims against him since 2005, in excess of $5 million, according to an attorney involved in four of those five lawsuits. Exact figures aren’t available because some of the settlements involve confidentiality agreements. The Jesuits have never let a single case against Father Poole go to trial.

In a 2005 deposition, Rachel testified that she had been molested by Father Poole in 1975, while in Nome for her second suicide attempt, an attempted overdose of alcohol and pills. He’d come sit by her bed, put his hand under the hospital blanket, and fondle her, she said.

She traveled between Stebbins and Nome several times in the late 1970s, spending time in hospitals and receiving homes. By 1977, Rachel testified, Poole had given her gonorrhea, and by 1978 she was pregnant with his child. In an interview with The Stranger, she said Poole encouraged her to get an abortion and tell the doctors she had been raped by her father. She followed his advice. “He brainwashed me,” she said. “He messed up my head, man.”

Rachel Mike’s father died in 2004. A year later, she heard Elsie Boudreau, another survivor of Poole’s abuse, being interviewed on the radio. Listening to Boudreau, Rachel was moved to finally tell the truth.

“He’s gone, and I’ll never have a chance to tell him in person,” she said, talking about her father between heaving sobs. “I was scared. In a way he knew, but—he never even touched me.”

“This man,” says Anchorage-based attorney Ken Roosa, referring to Poole, “has left a trail of carnage behind him.”

The only reason Poole is not in jail, Roosa says, is the statute of limitations. And the reason he’s still a priest, being cared for by the church?

“Jim Poole is elderly,” answered Very Reverend Patrick J. Lee, head of the Northwest Jesuits, by e-mail. “He lives in a Jesuit community under an approved safety plan that includes 24-hour supervision.”

Roosa has another theory—that Poole knows too much. “They can’t put him on the street and take away his reason for keeping quiet,” Roosa says. “He knows all the secrets.”

Father James Poole’s story is not an isolated case in Alaska. On the morning of January 14 in Seattle, Ken Roosa and a small group Alaska Natives stood on the sidewalk outside Seattle University to announce a new lawsuit against the Jesuits, claiming a widespread conspiracy to dump pedophile priests in isolated Native villages where they could abuse children off the radar.

“They did it because there was no money there, no power, no police,” Roosa said to the assembled cameras and microphones. “It was a pedophile’s paradise.” He described a chain of poor Native villages where priests—many of them serial sex offenders—reigned supreme. “We are going to shine some light on a dark and dirty corner of the Jesuit order.”

The suit, filed in the superior court of Bethel, Alaska, the day before, accuses several priests of being offenders and conspirators. Among the alleged conspirators is Father Stephen Sundborg, who is the current president of Seattle University and was Provincial of the Oregon Province of Jesuits from 1990 through 1996. (The Oregon Province includes Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, and Alaska; as Provincial, Sundborg was head of the entire province.) The suit alleges that while Sundborg was head of the Northwest Jesuits, he had access to the personnel files of several pedophile priests, including one named Father Henry Hargreaves, whom he allowed to remain in the ministry. “As a direct result of Father Sundborg’s decision,” the suit alleges, “Father Hargreaves was able to continue molesting children, including but not limited to James Doe 94, who was raped by Father Hargreaves in 1992, when James Doe was approximately 6 years old.”

Roosa and his associate Patrick Wall (a former Benedictine monk who once worked as a sex-abuse fixer for the Catholic Church) said they knew of 345 cases of molestation in Alaska by 28 perpetrators who came from at least four different countries.

This concentration of abuses is orders of magnitude greater than Catholic sex-abuse cases in other parts of the United States. Today, Roosa said, there are 17,000 Catholics in the diocese of Fairbanks, though there was a much smaller number during the peak of the abuse. Roosa compared this lawsuit to the famous Los Angeles suits of 2001, which claimed 550 victims of abuse in a Catholic population of 3.4 million.

These abusers in Alaska, Wall said, were specifically sent to Alaska “to get them off the grid, where they could do the least amount of damage” to the church’s public image.

One by one, the Alaska Natives—including Elsie Boudreau, the woman whom Rachel Mike had heard on the radio—took their turns before the cameras and microphones, talking softly and nervously and choking back tears. “I am Flo Kenny,” a woman with a gray ponytail and sunglasses said carefully. “I am 74 years old. And I’ve kept silent for 60 years. I am here for all the ones who cannot speak—who are dead, who committed suicide, who are homeless, who are drug addicts. There’s always been a time, an end of secrets. This is the time.”

Alphonsus Abouchuk, wearing a black leather jacket and sunglasses, talked about how poor his family was and how the priests used to give him quarters after abusing him.

Rena Abouchuk, his sister, cried while she read a letter to a Franciscan monk named Anton Smario (currently living in Concord, California) who taught her catechism classes. “You did so many evil things to young children,” she read, gripping her letter in one hand and an eagle feather tied to a small red sachet in the other. “God will never forgive you… You took a lot of lives.” Six of her cousins, she later said, committed suicide because of Brother Smario.

The lawsuit states that Brother Smario offered children food and juice to coax them to stay after class: “He then would unzip his pants, and completely expose his genitals to these children, and masturbate to ejaculation as he walked around the classroom. He would ask the girls to touch his penis and would rub his erect penis on their backs, necks, and arms. Sometimes he would wipe or rub his semen on the girls after he ejaculated.”

According to the allegations, Father Joseph Lundowski molested or raped James Does 29, 59–71, and 73–94, plus Janet Does 4–7—a total of 40 children—giving them “hard candy, money he stole from the collection plate, cooked food, baked goods, beer, sacramental wine, brandy, and/or better grades (silver, blue, or gold stars) on their catechism assignments in exchange for sexual favors.”

The lawsuit also alleges Father George Endal raped and molested several boys—and, as Smario and Lundowski’s boss, was the person who put Lundowski in charge of the boys dormitory in the Holy Rosary Mission School in Dillingham, Alaska, where catechism classes were split between Smario (in charge of the girls) and Lundowski (in charge of the boys). On separate occasions, Father Endal and another priest named Norman E. Donohue—who allegedly raped James Doe 69—walked in on Lundowski while he was molesting children and either quietly left the room or did nothing to stop it.

Father Francis Fallert, principal of the Copper Valley School and head of the all the Alaska Jesuits from 1976 to 1982, is accused of molesting Janet Doe 6.

The sheer concentration of known sex offenders in these isolated communities begins to look less like an accident than a plan. Their institutional protection looks less like an embarrassed cover-up than aiding and abetting. And the way the church has settled case after case across the country, refusing to let most of them go to trial for a public airing, is starting to look like an admission of guilt.

When Patrick Wall wore monk’s robes, he must’ve looked like Friar Tuck. A former all-state football lineman, Wall has broad shoulders, a brawny neck, short reddish hair, and a habit of calling people “bro.”

We met last week in Sea-Tac Airport’s Alaska Airlines Board Room—a two-story business lounge, just past the security check, with conference tables, ergonomic chairs next to computer stations, and free espresso. He and Ken Roosa were there to meet with a client. Wall lives in California, Roosa lives in Anchorage, and many of their clients are on the West Coast, so they’ve done a lot of business in the Board Room. “I like to spend the night at home,” Wall says, setting his airplane reading—The Name of the Rose—on the conference-room table.

Wall’s first call as a sex-abuse fixer knocked on his door one morning in 1991, while he was brushing his teeth. Wall was not yet a priest, just a monk studying at St. John’s University in Minnesota. The abbot came to his room before class with an urgent matter regarding another monk and said Wall would be moving into the boy’s prep-school dormitory—immediately. The other monk “had an incident with a 14-year-old in the shower.” Wall was to take his place.

Taken aback, Wall threw up every objection he could think of. He didn’t own a computer and used the communal ones in the monastery. “We’ll buy you a laptop.” He helped with mass at a local parish. “We’ll reassign you to campus ministry.” He was on call for the volunteer fire department. “Not anymore.” The abbot wouldn’t take no for an answer.

So Wall packed up, moved into the boys dormitory, quickly intuited who else on the floor had been abused (5 out of the 90 residents), and coaxed them into talking about what had happened. Those cases never became public and were settled out of court. “If you’re good,” Wall says, “the assignments build.” Wall was so good, he was ordained a year early and kept busy, working as many as 13 cases per month.

The job was harrowing and frustrating. “If you’re the cleaner, you rarely find out the resolution to these things,” Wall says. “Because survivors had to sign confidentiality agreements.” The ultimate objective, for a cleaner, was to keep things quiet so the details never became public or went to trial. Wall slowly came to believe that his superiors were more concerned with protecting their public image than caring for survivors. It was, he says, a dark time, not least because he was struggling with his own vows of celibacy. In 1998, he asked to be laicized. By 2001, he was married to a ballet dancer and had a newborn daughter. By 2002, he was hired as a full-time researcher for the law firm Manly and Stewart investigating clerical sex-abuse cases.

Since then, he and Roosa—who often collaborate on cases with attorney John Manly—have worked over 250 cases together, all of them settled without going to trial. “I would like to see any of these cases go to trial to expose the corruption of the system,” Wall says. But the church would rather pay the money than subject itself to public scrutiny, and survivors generally prefer to avoid the increased emotional turmoil of a trial. “There was one survivor who went through 11 days of questioning, of deposition,” Roosa says. “The defense lawyers can make it so painful.”

“If you bend a young plant, it grows at an angle,” Roosa says. “Child sex abuse bends the character and maturation of a person—the abuse isn’t the injury as much as the effect it has on people.”

Father Poole’s alleged abuses are particularly egregious, earning him a special place in Roosa’s and Wall’s hearts. He is their archetypal bad guy, their Dr. Mengele of the clerical sex-abuse world: Their clients have described, in sworn testimony, Poole pressing his erections against girls during junior-high dances, being caught by his own mother while masturbating in front of young girls, and much worse. “The defense lawyers have been so disgusted with Poole,” Roosa says, “that they’ve told me off the record, ‘anything you tell me about Poole, I’d believe.'”

According to a victim identified as Jane Doe 5 in a 2006 complaint, Poole first raped her during a private catechism class when she was 6 years old. From a direct transcript of her testimony:

He started fidget—finger—started to touch me digitally with his fingers. And at that time, when he started getting closer to me, I—there’s a picture—I’m on the desk, a picture to the left of me is a picture of Jesus who’s at the rock praying, and to my left I look at the picture to my left, and I look into James Poole’s eyes. I turned away from the picture, looked into his eyes, and asked ‘Not in front of Jesus, please.’… He kept telling me that in order to be a good little girl for God, I had to do this. That God wanted me to do this. And I remember a burning…

Then, she says, he raped her.

Roosa tells a story about Poole molesting a 9-year-old girl in Portland, Oregon, while simultaneously having an affair with the girl’s mother. Poole supposedly told the girl’s mother he would quit the priesthood and marry her, but abruptly returned to Alaska. The girl’s mother committed suicide. According to Wall and Roosa, that same girl says she was molested by another priest, one who has been listed in at least three settlements in cases that reach back to the 1960s. They say that, in one incident, this priest was called to a house in Yakima to administer last rites to a dying woman in 1989. “He raped the woman on her deathbed,” Roosa says. “He told the family to go into the other room, the husband heard a weird noise, went into the bedroom, and caught him raping his unconscious wife.”

The woman didn’t die, and by the time Roosa and Wall caught up with her family last May, the church had offered the family half a million dollars. The family said they’d file a legal complaint if Roosa and Wall could guarantee more than half a million dollars in compensation.

“No,” Wall said. “Take it, bro.”

Within hours of the press conference on the sidewalk in front of Seattle University on January 14—which essentially alleges that Father Stephen Sundborg allowed molester priests to minister freely as members of the Northwest Jesuits when it was his responsibility, as Provincial, to keep them away from children—Sundborg denied having any information about the Jesuit “dumping ground” in Northwest Alaska:

The allegations brought against me are false. I firmly deny them. I want the victims and the entire community to know that. The complaint filed by the plaintiffs’ lawyers represents an unprincipled and irresponsible attack on my reputation. Let me be clear—my commitment to justice and reconciliation for all victims remains steadfast.

On January 31, Father Sundborg, through his spokesperson, responded to questions from The Stranger with this statement:

I want to be very clear: As Provincial of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, I would never have put a child at risk. I was never aware of any claim of child abuse concerning either Fr. James Poole or Fr. Henry Hargreaves.
As I have said repeatedly in the past, as a member of the Society of Jesus, I personally and sincerely apologize for the pain that has been suffered through the actions of some members of our order.
I am disappointed that the plaintiffs’ attorneys are attempting to use falsehoods and innuendo to fuel a media campaign. Their attack on my reputation is unprincipled and irresponsible.
Nonetheless, I remain firm in my resolve to seek justice and reconciliation for all victims.

With the exception of Father Hargreaves allegedly raping James Doe 94 in 1992, no abuses—at least none that have been reported—occurred while Sundborg was Provincial.

Still, Wall says, “Stevie has a little problem.”

Hargreaves, Poole, and other problem priests continued to work in the ministry during Sundborg’s tenure between 1990 and 1996 and, in Elsie Boudreau’s words, “We know that he knew.”

Father Poole came under scrutiny as early as 1961, when complaints about his behavior reached Rome and the Father-General of the Jesuits initiated an investigation.

In 1994, Poole was sent to the Servants of the Paraclete—a Jesuit-run psychiatric facility for troubled priests in Jemez Springs, New Mexico—where, he later testified in a 2004 deposition, he learned that he had boundary issues, that he “wasn’t this great king and lover,” and that “French-kissing” a 12-year-old girl is “wrong.”

Poole denies raping anyone but admits to “French-kissing” Boudreau—and emphatically denies that French-kissing her was in any way sexual. “With Elsie, I have never had any sexual impulse,” he said in the 2004 deposition, “never had any sexual temptation.” Later in this same testimony, John Manly asked Poole whether he had ever French-kissed his own niece.

“No,” Poole replied.

“Why?” Manly asked.

Poole hesitated.

“Why not?” Manly insisted. “I think I know the answer, but I want you to say it.”

“We were not that close, for one thing,” Poole replied. “My brother had always lived away from us.”

“Any other reason?” Manly asked.

“No,” Poole said.

Monthly progress reports were sent to Sundborg during Poole’s treatment in Jemez Springs. After his release, Poole continued to work as a hospital chaplain in Alaska until November of 2003, when Roosa threatened to sue the Bishop of Fairbanks over the childhood abuse of Elsie Boudreau. Poole retired shortly thereafter and was sent to Spokane, to live in an apartment near Gonzaga University. (Attempts to contact Father Poole for comment were unsuccessful.)

Father Sundborg testified in 2005 that he sent at least eight priests—including Father Poole, Father James Laudwein, and Father Craig Boly—for psychiatric evaluation by Dr. Stuart Greenberg, a leading consultant on clerical sex abuse for the Northwest Jesuits. After their visits with Dr. Greenberg, Poole, Laudwein, and Boly were returned to active ministry.

At the time of Sundborg’s 2005 testimony, Father Laudwein was a defendant in a sex-abuse suit that ended in 2007 with a $50 million settlement, according to theAnchorage Daily News. And, in 1992, Father Boly wrote an essay for a book calledJesuits in Profile: Alive and Well in the U.S. about his attraction to high-school girls:

I remember being reprimanded more than once for spending too much time with visiting coeds from other local high schools. My rationalization was that if attractive young women brought their problems to me, it must be an opportunity for apostolic service. What I neglected to consider was what needs of my own the interactions with the women students were meeting.

Sundborg also contributed an essay to Jesuits in Profile, but testified in 2005 that he had no recollection of reading the book.

Dr. Greenberg—the counselor to whom Sundborg had sent Poole, Laudwein, Boly, and others for evaluation—was arrested in the summer of 2007 for surreptitiously filming staff members and patients using the bathroom at his office and, according to Roosa, filming himself masturbating while watching the films. A few weeks later, he rented a room at a motel in Renton, where he committed suicide. Police found him with a bunch of bottles of prescription pills and two slashed wrists.

“I wish I could offer you some adequate explanation,” his suicide note read. “I just don’t know. I deeply and profoundly apologize.”

This isn’t Sundborg’s first go-around with fending off a sex-abuse case. In 2006, the Jesuits settled a $350,000 suit against Father Michael Toulouse, a philosophy professor at Seattle University accused of abusing a 12-year-old boy in his residence in 1968. At the time of the settlement, Father Sundborg argued that Seattle University wasn’t liable, even though the abuse happened on campus, because the abuse occurred outside of his official duties as a teacher—a rare Catholic argument for the separation of church and sex.

Complaints against Toulouse (who died in 1976) date from 1950, when a Spokane father threatened to shoot Toulouse, who was then teaching at Gonzaga High School. Toulouse was transferred to Seattle, where he allegedly molested several boys, including the son of a widow in 1967. The widow and another Jesuit wrote to the province in 1968 requesting action. (Father Toulouse continued teaching at Seattle University until 1976.) When the widow’s son sought compensation in 1993, Sundborg wrote back, according to the Seattle Times: “There is nothing about this matter in the provincial files, in the personnel files of Fr. Toulouse, or in the files of Seattle University.”

That may be. But Father Thomas Royce, Provincial of the Northwest Jesuits from 1980 to 1986, just four years before Sundborg became Provincial, has testified that similar information about Jesuits does exist in the personnel files—that they contain information that is “special,” “not public,” and “not good.”

He called them “the hell files.”

Elsie Bourdreau is a Yu’pik Eskimo with short brown hair, plump cheeks, and, when she is not testifying at grim press conferences, a radiant smile. As Janet Doe 1, Boudreau was the first person to speak publicly about being abused by Father Poole. She kept silent about her abuse until 2005, when her daughter turned 10. “I was 10 when the abuse started,” she says. “And I just couldn’t shield it from my consciousness anymore.” She’s now employed as a consultant to law firms pursuing clerical sex-abuse cases, including the firms where Wall and Roosa work.

When Boudreau was a child, the villages of Northwest Alaska were only accessible by plane, boat, or dog sled. Many still are. For the most part, they didn’t have public schools, cops, or telephones. Many of the houses were one room and lacked food and consistent heat in the below-zero weather. “The perps would soften up their victims with food and warmth,” Wall says, “because that’s what the kids didn’t have. ‘It was always warmer in the rectory,’ they say. ‘There was always food in the rectory. There was always candy.'”

In those villages, the priests had unusual authority. “In the village, our elders loved the church and the priests so much,” Boudreau says. “They were like honored guests in our land. The priest had the utmost power, power that historically the village shaman would have had.” If children complained about the priests, it was tantamount to complaining about the village shaman. “I’ve talked to hundreds of victims in Alaska,” Boudreau says, “and many were physically hurt by parents for speaking about this.”

The priests came to occupy the role of shamans by a weird confluence of history and microbiology. In the early 1900s, a Spanish-influenza epidemic ripped through Northwest Alaska, sometimes killing entire villages. They called it “the Big Sickness” or “the Big Death.”

Winton Weyapuk was a child in Wales, Alaska, and was orphaned by the epidemic. In an interview from 1997, he recalled that the flu came on a dog sled. The mailman, on his monthly delivery, brought the corpse of a man who’d died on the way to Wales. Curious villagers crowded around the corpse. “The men, women, and children who came to see this body went home, and many got sick and most of them died before the next morning.”

Weyapuk’s father died that first night, so the family moved into an uncle’s house. Most everyone in the uncle’s house died, and Weyapuk and his brother Dwight lived in a one-room sod house with four corpses until someone found them. He recalls seeing white men building tripods over the sod houses, using block and tackle to pull frozen bodies up through the skylights, then blasting holes in the frozen ground with dynamite for mass graves. Family sled dogs, neglected and starving, roamed the streets and fought over human remains.

The shamans, normally counted on as healers, were helpless. The population was decimated, and the social structure had to be created from nothing: Another Wales resident remembers that, in the aftermath, so many families had been destroyed that an official from Nome came to the village with a stack of notarized wedding licenses. He lined up all the surviving men, all the surviving women, and all the surviving children, and built families at random.

Catholic missionaries made major inroads into these communities in the aftermath of the Big Sickness. (Along with the Baptists and Orthodox churches. The major churches had a summit in Sitka years prior and divided up their geographical spheres of influence.) The missionaries brought flour and coffee, built orphanages and schools. “They looked at the shamans as evil and of the devil,” Boudreau says. A new social order was created. In the villages of Northwest Alaska, the Jesuits stepped into a tailor-made power vacuum.

The history of child molestation in the Catholic Church goes back centuries. The first official decree on the subject was written at the Council of Elvira, held around A.D. 305 near Granada, Spain. The precise history is complicated, but the council is traditionally believed to have set down 81 rules for behavior, the 71st of which is: “Those who sexually abuse boys may not commune even when death approaches.” It was the harshest one-strike policy: If you’re caught abusing a child, you are not only laicized, but permanently excommunicated—damned for all time.

The other major condemnation of clerical sex abuse was The Book of Gomorrah, completed by radical church reformer Father Peter Damian (a Benedictine monk, as it happens, who became a cardinal) in 1051. He appealed directly to the pope about the abuse of children, as well as consensual sex among clergy—in howling language: “O unheard of crime! O outrage to be mourned with a whole fountain of tears!… What fruitfulness can still be found in the flocks when the shepherd is so deeply sunk in the belly of the devil!”

In the 1930s, a priest-psychiatrist—and also a Benedictine—named Reverend Thomas Verner Moore researched the higher-than-usual rates of insanity and alcoholism among Catholic clergy. He suggested the church build an asylum for priests. The U.S. Catholic Bishops turned down his request in 1936. Father Moore became a Carthusian hermit.

In 1947, Father Gerald Fitzgerald founded the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez, New Mexico—the same institution Father Poole was to visit almost 50 years later.

In a 1957 letter to the Bishop of Manchester, Father Fitzgerald wrote that predatory priests (who he euphemistically refers to as “schizophrenic”) cannot be effectively treated and should not be allowed to continue in the ministry:

Their repentance and amendment is superficial and, if not formally at least subconsciously, is motivated by a desire to be again in a position where they can continue their wonted activity. A new diocese means only green pastures… We are amazed to find how often a man who would be behind bars if he were not a priest is entrusted with the cura animarum [the cure, or care, of souls].

By the early 1960s, Father Fitzgerald had seen enough chronic pedophiles that he did not want to treat them and have them rereleased into the ministry, but, as he proposed in a letter to Archbishop Davis, to build an “island retreat… but even an island is too good for these vipers.”

In 16 centuries, church policy had evolved from one strike you’re out to 30 strikes and you’re sent to an island in the Caribbean.

In 1965, according to an affidavit from Fitzgerald successor Father Joseph McNamara: “Father Gerald purchased an island in [the Caribbean], near Carriacou, which had an abandoned hotel, damaged by fire, on it. This hotel was entirely removed from any civilization… This was to be Father Gerald’s long sought after ‘island refuge,’ but it did not come to be. As is described below, Archbishop Davis ordered Father Gerald to sell the island.”

Shortly thereafter, Father Fitzgerald was asked to step down. “It all became too public,” Wall says. “The Holy See would never be able to explain Father Fitzgerald’s leper island for pedophile priests.”

In 1985, two priests and a lawyer—Father Michael Peterson, Dominican Father Thomas Doyle, and Ray Mouton—presented a report to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. The report, which reads more like concerned advice than a condemnation, warns that high rates of abuse and high rates of recidivism for “treated” priests could cost the church over $1 billion and a major loss of credibility in the coming decade.

Later that year, in the first highly publicized case of a pedophile priest in the United States, Father Gilbert Gauthe admitted to abusing 37 boys in Louisiana. He accepted a plea bargain, was sentenced to 20 years, and served 10. By 1997, according to theNew York Times, he had moved to Texas, where he was “arrested for fondling a 3-year-old boy” and put on supervised probation. (According to the Times, “Texas authorities did not know of his criminal record in Louisiana.”) In April 2008, he was arrested again for failing to register as a sex offender.

In 1993, Canice Connors, the director of St. Luke’s, a psychiatric institute for troubled clergy, told the Los Angeles Times: “The Catholic Church in North America possesses the greatest data bank of evaluation and treatment of nonincarcerated pedophiles on the continent. That data should be analyzed scientifically and shared with others studying the problem.” He was in Milwaukee to present his findings to the U.S. Conference of Bishops.

In 2003, the Archdiocese of Boston agreed to pay out $85 million to 552 victims of clerical sex abuse.

Also in 2003, in the midst of negotiations to settle four claims of clerical sex abuse with the Diocese of Fairbanks, one of the church’s mediators told Ken Roosa that the dioceses didn’t want to offer more than $10,000. “They said they couldn’t offer more money to an Alaska Native because they’d just get drunk and hurt each other,” Roosa said. “And it would just encourage more victims to come forward. Unbelievable.”

In September 2005, former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—who’d just become the pope—asked the justice department of the Bush administration to grant him immunity from prosecution in sex-abuse cases in the United States. Ratzinger, the onetime head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was accused of “conspiring to cover up the sexual molestation of three boys by a seminarian” in Texas, according to the Associated Press. Ratzinger had “written in Latin to bishops around the world, explaining that ‘grave’ crimes such as the sexual abuse of minors would be handled by his congregation. The proceedings of special church tribunals handling the cases were subject to ‘pontifical secret,'” Ratzinger’s letter said. The Bush administration granted Ratzinger the immunity.

In 2007, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to pay $660 million to more than 500 victims of clerical sex abuse.

Why does the church keep sending these priests, who have come to be such a major liability, back into ministry? “It’s all about keeping the stores open, keeping the revenue rolling,” Wall says. The Alaskan provinces in particular, Wall says, were a source of revenue—not from the Native population living there, but from parishioners in the lower 48 who were encouraged to donate for the Native ministry up north. “You could raise thousands to fund a mission that cost very little to run,” Wall says. “The profit margin is huge.”

The lawsuits against the Northwest Jesuits regarding abuses of Alaska Natives are not over. Within the coming weeks, Roosa and Wall say, more claims will be filed, more press conferences will be held, and more stories will come out.

“We talk about how we feel like we’re doing God’s work,” says Boudreau. “It’s something bigger than all of us. We’re working to reveal the truth of what happened.”

Exiled Pedophile Priest May Have Continued Abuse

Standard

April 2, 2010

Exiled Pedophile Priest May Have Continued Abuse

By SUSAN SAULNY and LAURIE GOODSTEIN

BOULDER JUNCTION, Wis. — The modest clapboard cottage projects a sense of simple rural peace, nestled amid tall pines on quiet Trout Lake. The house, in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, had been in the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy’s family for years, his getaway in the summer months and his sanctuary where he was sent to retire in 1974, at age 48, after victims of sexual abuse demanded he be removed from work at a school for the deaf near Milwaukee.

But Father Murphy’s time around Boulder Junction was not so secluded, according to recent interviews with people who live in the area and Roman Catholic Church documents.

Those interviews and documents suggested that Father Murphy, who is accused of molesting as many as 200 boys at the school near Milwaukee, also used his family’s lakefront cottage as a lure in his sexual advances, bringing youths from the school into his home beginning at least in the early 1960s.

What has recently come to light in fresh documents and interviews is that he was in the company of boys not only from the Milwaukee area but in the Northwoods region. Two in the area have accused Father Murphy of abuse, one at the isolated family cottage and the other, as late as 1978, at a youth detention center near Boulder Junction.

Speaking with a therapist years later, Father Murphy denied having any sexual contact “with any person” after leaving the school for the deaf in 1974.

Julie Wolf, communications director for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, said that Father Murphy was placed on certain restrictions upon leaving Milwaukee that included not having any contact with children and that “he ignored the restrictions.”

Ms. Wolf added, “Over time, they tried to deal with him, but over time they weren’t successful.”

In fact, around Boulder Junction, in high school religious classes and preparation for the sacrament of confirmation, in sleepovers at his cottage and fishing excursions, Father Murphy interacted freely with children until his death in 1998, never having been punished by the church or local criminal authorities in Milwaukee, according to documents and interviews with people in the area.

Donald Marshall, who is 45 and lives in West Allis, Wis., said in an interview last week that he was molested by Father Murphy in 1977 or 1978, when he was 13 or 14, a few years after Father Murphy was sent to live in Boulder Junction.

Mr. Marshall had been sent to the juvenile detention center, the Lincoln Hills School for Boys, for burglaries he said he committed. He said Father Murphy sometimes served at the school as a chaplain, and he met the priest at a dining room table one night. When he got in a fight with some other inmates, Mr. Marshall said, he was sent to a “security cottage” and put in a cell alone, behind a solid steel door with a high window.

Mr. Marshall said that Father Murphy visited him there, that they sat on the bed talking, and that the priest tried to put his hand down the boy’s pants. Mr. Marshall said he resisted, and as soon as Father Murphy left the cell, the teenager told a security officer, who called the superintendent of the center. The superintendent interviewed him twice to make sure he did not change his story. But Mr. Marshall said the superintendent told him that they had had previous complaints about Father Murphy, and that the priest’s superiors had been told.

Another accusation, from a former altar boy at a church in Boulder Junction, surfaced in a letter written to a bishop, Raphael M. Fliss, in the Diocese of Superior, covering the Northwoods region. The accuser, now a teacher, came forward in 2002, at age 52, stating that Father Murphy had sexually abused him at his lake cottage. It is not clear whether Father Murphy was still working in Milwaukee when he met the second accuser, who is believed to have been from the Northwoods.

“I want you to know that Father Murphy molested me many times at his cottage in Boulder Jct since I was a little, naïve, deaf boy,” wrote the man, whose name had been redacted in the document received by The New York Times. It is unclear whether he attended St. John’s School for the Deaf in St. Francis, outside Milwaukee, where Father Murphy had worked.

In a letter, the man also asked for a settlement of $25,000 “so I can forgive you and not be angry when I see the church,” he stated.

A call to Bishop Fliss, now retired, was not returned this week. The Diocese of Superior said it had had no comment to add about the Murphy case.

Years earlier, when Father Murphy was still at St. John’s, he was said to gravitate to boys who were sexually inexperienced and lacking in social skills, according to Kathy Lyn Walter, a social worker and an expert on sexual disorders who was hired by the archdiocese to interview Father Murphy in 1993. She said he offered them what seemed like a beachfront reprieve from their lives in the dormitories, with canoe trips, picnics and barbecues.

“There was a group of boys from which client regularly selected someone to go to his cottage in Boulder Junction to engage in sexual behavior,” Ms. Walter wrote. Her notes refer to Father Murphy’s time of service at the school for the deaf, and were intended to help church leaders decide how to deal with him.

“Sexually oriented to male adolescents,” she wrote in her conclusions, adding at another point, “This client seems to have no sense of the extent of harm caused.”

In the two years before Father Murphy died, the bishops in Milwaukee and Superior tried to have him defrocked but were dissuaded by Vatican officials who had received a letter from Father Murphy asking for leniency. The Vatican said Father Murphy had shown “apparent good conduct” in the 24 years since he had been removed from St. John’s and sent to Boulder Junction.

However, the complaint from Mr. Marshall indicates the abuse continued during that period.

After the episodes that he described with Father Murphy, Mr. Marshall said he never saw the priest again at Lincoln Hills. But Mr. Marshall said that years later, after problems with alcoholism and anger, and after serving eight years in prison for drunken driving, he contacted the Archdiocese of Milwaukee asking for help in the form of therapy, which he said he never received.

On Tuesday, at a Mass, Archbishop Jerome Listecki acknowledged that mistakes were made in the case of Father Murphy. “The mistakes were not made in Rome in 1996, 1997 and 1998,” the archbishop said. “The mistakes were made here, in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, in the 1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s, by the church, by civil authorities, by church officials, and by bishops. And for that, I beg your forgiveness.”

Mr. Marshall filed a lawsuit last year against the archdiocese, according to his lawyers, Jeff Anderson and Mike Finnegan, accusing Father Murphy of sexual abuse.

Victims back in Milwaukee and St. Francis say the police ignored their reports of the priest’s sexual contacts. They also went to the district attorney’s office in Milwaukee. E. Michael McCann, then the district attorney, said last week that his office had not pursued the allegations because they were beyond the state’s statute of limitations.

The victims and their advocates recall it differently, saying that one victim was then a student at the school and was being abused — which would have been well within the statute. Mr. McCann said his office was under such scrutiny in the Murphy case that it would have been impossible for them not to pursue an active case of abuse. But once Father Murphy moved to Boulder Junction, local authorities said they were not made aware of any complaints.

“Our department never conducted any criminal investigations,” said Chief Deputy Joe Fath of the Vilas County Sheriff’s Department. “There were never any allegations of anything occurring in Vilas County at his place of work or residence.”

Father Murphy always lived freely. Far from being a recluse during his time at the lake, he was described by neighbors and friends as a jovial man, although he grew more subdued with age.

“He’d come and get me when he had the deaf boys over,” said Jeff Long, the town chairman of Boulder Junction, who, as a child, spent many carefree summer days at the lake cottage with its bunk beds in the early 1960s. “I had a great time. Father Murphy was just a very wonderful, friendly man. He was very fun to be around.”

Mr. Long, who said he was not abused, added: “Whatever was happening was happening very isolated from the general atmosphere of what was going on. I was completely oblivious to anything that would have been inappropriate at any level.”

Ms. Walter, the social worker, determined that Father Murphy sought boys of a certain profile: medium build with black or blond hair, loyal and in need of affection or attention, sexually ignorant and lacking in social skills.

“It was sex education for them,” Ms. Walter quoted Father Murphy as saying in her notes. “They were confused about sex. There was rampant homosexuality among the older boys. I fixed the problem.”

Ms. Walter stated in her notes that it was very difficult for a very sexually active person to stop being sexual and that her first recommendation was for the Diocese of Superior to open an investigation into Father Murphy’s activities in Boulder Junction.

A spokesman for the diocese declined to comment on whether any investigation in the region was ever begun.

David Schmoller, 52, a plant ecologist living near Boulder Junction, called on Father Murphy several times in the course of his own volunteer work and said he felt a deep sense of anger that the priest was never brought to justice.

“This is a public safety issue to me,” Mr. Schmoller said. “I felt depressed to think that I didn’t know his background and what could have gone wrong. This man was unflagged in our community, and we encountered him. How many more are there?”

Susan Saulny reported from Boulder Junction and Laurie Goodstein from New York.